AVOIDING FAST FASHION IN A CONSUMER DRIVEN SEASON
There’s really no denying it…
It’s upon us. The countdown meter at the supermarket even told me today that it’s only 32 sleeps. We are either merrily entering, gently tiptoeing or begrudgingly dragging ourselves into the Christmas season.
I’m not quite there yet - but I feel it starting to pull. I may have even started thinking about what kind of garland will adorn the mantlepiece this year and where we’ll put the tree. I may have dived back into my Christmas pinterest board.
We all know that Christmas is the highest consumer season of the year. We throw cash around that we don’t have on things that we and other people don’t really need. We buy outfits for parties and novelty clothing that we’ll forget about next year. In fact, this article exposed that one in four Christmas jumpers bought last year will never be worn again. One in three under 35’s will buy a new Christmas jumper each year (stating that they don’t want to be seen in the same one again or that they buy new ones because they are so cheap). It’s estimated that £220 MILLION POUNDS are spent every year on novelty Christmas jumpers alone. Call me scrooge. I can take it.
About 6 weeks ago, Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary about fast fashion aired. It caused quite a stir and started some brilliant conversations on and offline. It did a great job of highlighting some of the major environmental catastrophes connected with the demand for fast, disposable fashion and people were rightly outraged and concerned with how our excessive consumption of clothes is effecting people and the planet.
I thought it might be a good time to circle back on some of those conversations - to remind ourselves about the impact that fast fashion has and how we can be agents of change as consumers, especially with party season approaching and the lure to buy new shiny things becoming a real draw.
If you are wanting to change your fast-fashion habits this season, this is for you.
If you want to pull the reigns in on your over-consumption and look at fashion as a long lasting investment, this is for you.
I have some tips for how we get a handle on this. These are things that help me; because even though I’m an activist in this area and I have real convictions, it doesn’t mean I’m not tempted or interested in style. Here’s what helps me:
1) Unsubscribing from fast-fashion retailer newsletters. Do it. We do not need to know what promotions they are having (the answer is always many many promotions) if we do not need more clothes. The lure and the feeling of missing out or needing to spend can be curtailed if we can remove these seemingly insignificant reminders from our inboxes.
2) Unfollowing fast-fashion retailers from social media, including fast-fashion bloggers/vloggers and influencers who will be undoubtedly doing all kinds of Christmas hauls. If we really want to set a new path with our consumption, we can unfollow until we find it less tempting. Advertising is everywhere, and the more control over it we take, the easier it will be to not feel left behind or out of the loop.
3) Find ethical brands that suits our personal style and put in a request for a voucher or an item from them this year. A dressy Winter coat you can wear every Christmas year on year or maybe a piece that will transition well from season to season. I have found that when you invest in the true cost of a piece of clothing and you know where it has been made you feel so much more connected to it and less likely to discard it. This organic wool cardigan below is one of my absolute A/W 18 favourites from one of my favourite ethical brands, Thought Clothing. It’s cozy and neutral and the perfect layering piece for the change from Autumn to Winter. Thought’s pieces are accessible in size (sizing is always generous and true), price and style and a go-to for me when I need to replace something specific.
4) Avoid the shopping centres! From now until after the New Year you can pretty much expect to spend half of your day in traffic if you plan on venturing to a shopping centre on the weekend. It is mayhem. Take yourself out of the chaos. Being in shopping centres and malls is always going to make staying away from fast-fashion really hard. There is a gravitational pull when mass amounts of people are all in the same place doing the same thing. Avoid avoid avoid! If you need to go for something specific, you could even pledge to just bring whatever cash you need and leave the handy cards at home.
5) Finally, arrange a clothes swap! This is my TOP TIP. Text 5 friends right now and tell them that you are hosting a pre-chrimbo clothes swap at your house. They have to bring their best clothes that they know they won’t wear again. Throw in some wine, some Bublé and a good try-on session and it’s going to end up being the best Christmas night-in of your life. AND you’ll leave with a few new bits to scratch that shopping itch without any impact on the planet or your wallet. Winner winner turkey dinner!
These are just five of my own tried and tested ways of avoiding fast-fashion at peak consumer seasons in particular (and throughout the rest of the year really). Maybe you have something else you'd like to add to the list - another top tip? Please do let me know in the comments or send me a DM. Always happy to chat about this stuff and find out what works for others.
* This is a proud collaborative post with Thought Clothing. I’m always grateful to get to work with brands that support me in writing about issues that are important to me.*
As a thank you to readers, Thought are offering you a whopping 20% off everything on their website by using the code ‘MW20’ from now until the end of February!
With big love and thanks to the amazing Gillian from Gather & Tides for the photography in this post.